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Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit
By Charles F. Stanley
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2007 Charles F. Stanley
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Promise of God the Father
Who is the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer today?
The foremost lesson I believe every Christian must learn about the Holy Spirit is this: the Holy Spirit is the Promise of our heavenly Father to each one of us.
In Luke 24, we find a very specific command given by Jesus right before He ascends to heaven:
[Jesus] said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me ... Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued [or clothed] with power from on high." And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. (Luke 24:44-53)
In this very short and simple message to His followers, Jesus gave them the key to living a victorious life as He demonstrated on the earth: "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you."
That Promise-as we know from John 14-15, Acts 1, and other passages in the New Testament-was and is the Holy Spirit. The Promise of Jesus to His disciples at the time of His ascension is the same Promise given by Jesus to those of us who are followers or disciples of Jesus today.
Jesus has made available to every believer the work and power of the Holy Spirit. Every believer receives that promise, regardless of denomination, cultural background, race, color, or age.
Many people seem to think that the Holy Spirit has only been poured out on those who are preachers, teachers, missionaries, or some other type of full-time Christian worker. Not so! The anointing power of the Holy Spirit is for every believer-the Holy Spirit has been given to businessmen, mothers, students, plumbers, secretaries, and to people in all walks of life.
God's Divine Presence and Sovereign Power
What does the Bible mean by the power of the Holy Spirit-the "power from on high"?
The power of the Holy Spirit is the divine authority and energy that God releases into the life of every one of His children in order that we might live a godly and fruitful life. The Word tells us that we become "clothed from on high" by this power-it envelops us, not only covering us and protecting us from the influence of the devil, but also enabling us to demonstrate the likeness of Christ.
The Holy Spirit covers us in such a way that we bear both the fruit of His character and the demonstration of His presence wherever we go. Clothing identifies people as having authority, prestige, or influence-such as the uniform of a policeman, the cloak of a king, or the robes of a judge. Similarly the spiritual "garment" bestowed by the Holy Spirit identifies us as Christ's own brothers or sisters alive and at work in this world.
We Cannot Manipulate the Holy Spirit
What does the Bible mean when Jesus said His disciples would be "endued with power"? It means that the Holy Spirit initiates and governs His relationship with us from start to finish.
The Holy Spirit cannot be manipulated. You cannot make the Holy Spirit do anything. You cannot fill yourself with the Holy Spirit, no matter what formula or method or series of works you perform. You cannot govern the Holy Spirit. Neither can you eliminate the Holy Spirit from your life.
God imparts His Spirit to those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. The work that the Holy Spirit does in our lives is His work, done at His initiative, motivated by His love and divine purpose for our lives. The Holy Spirit manifests Himself as He desires in our lives.
It is the Holy Spirit who does the work-
energizing the body, both individually and corporately as the church, enlightening and renewing the mind to understand truth and apply it in our daily lives, inflaming our hearts with a passion of devotion to Almighty God, and generating in us a tremendous desire to preach repentance and remission of sins to all nations.
The Promise of the Father
What does the Bible mean when it refers to the Holy Spirit as the "Promise" of God?
A promise is something that is always and forever. Jesus was indicating that the Holy Spirit will always be with us as our Comforter, our Helper, our Source of divine power, and the One who leads us into all truth.
Jesus said to His disciples that when they receive this Promise of the Father, "You will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you." We are endued or "clothed" by the Holy Spirit; we have a knowing that we are in Christ and He dwells in us in the form of the Holy Spirit always. The Holy Spirit is God's assurance that our salvation is secure-it is promised to us for all eternity.
What a great mystery and wonder this is! We are in Christ. He dwells in us by His Spirit. What a tremendous promise! And most amazingly, this promise is the gift to every believer.
In Acts 2, we find a powerful sermon preached by the apostle Peter after the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon a group of faithful disciples. These disciples had been praying and praising God continually from the time of Jesus' ascension for ten days until the feast of Pentecost. At the close of Peter's sermon, the people were so convicted of their sin that they cried out to Peter and the other apostles:
"Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
[Peter replied] to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:37-39)
The Holy Spirit is God's promise to you. You shall receive the Holy Spirit when you admit to your sin and turn from it and receive Jesus Christ as your Savior. Believe that He alone has provided the full and final sacrifice for your sin-and determine that you will turn from your past life and follow Jesus Christ as your Lord every day of your future.
Excerpted from Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit by Charles F. Stanley Copyright © 2007 by Charles F. Stanley. Excerpted by permission.
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